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Baptism and Religious Bracelets

There are certain moments in a child's life that call to be marked with a special gift. In many families the child's baptism is the first of many such moments. When a child is baptized, he or she formally becomes part of a larger religious community. This is a unique moment that will never be repeated ... and it makes sense to many parents and grandparents to commemorate the moment with a significant gift to the child. Sometimes birthstone bracelets are just the right thing.

A traditional baptismal gift for Catholics is a rosary bracelet. A Catholic will treasure this rosary bracelet for his or her entire life, and can carry it always to find comfort and succor when hard times come along or to give thanks when a joyous moment comes. Many Christian denominations practice infant baptism, though, and as the rosary becomes used in more and more denominations as part of their religious practice (as it is becoming more popular in the Episcopalian church), giving a rosary bracelet as a baptismal gift is becoming a more widespread practice as well.

Every religious tradition and community has rites of initiation that welcome new members to the fold. Sometimes the rite is enacted when the new member is an adult and sometimes it is done by parents or guardians for a new baby. Most baptisms are done for infants, in churches, with the newborn accompanied by its parents. In the Catholic tradition, the adults who have been selected to be godparents are also there; in fact, because godparents are responsible for guiding the newly-baptized child's spiritual development, it is often the godmother or godfather who presents the child with his or her first rosary.

There are also religious traditions in which adults are baptized; in some cases, an adult from one religious tradition decides to convert. In the case where an adult converts to Catholicism and is baptized, it would still be appropriate - and even appreciated by the new convert - to present a baptismal gift. A rosary bracelet, perhaps with a more adult design, would be a thoughtful, welcoming, and considerate gift to a converted Catholic. The tradition of giving Catholics gifts at baptism, first communion, and confirmation shows not merely the gift giver's love for someone, but it guides that person along the way to a life of thought and faith.

Other religious traditions have rites of passage that can be marked by jewelry. Jews gift gifs to young men and women when they have their bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah; the special day for a young girl at her bat (or bas) mitzvah could be marked with the presentation of a piece of jewelry bearing a Star of David or a small charm in the shape of a torah.

The giving of religious gifts should not be undertaken lightly. A gift given upon the occasion of a religious ceremony should carry weight, as it is symbolic of the receiver's spiritual and religious development. But the selection of just the right piece of jewelry will be appropriate in most occasions, whether a gift is needed for a tiny baby's at baptism or for a grown up going through the conversion process.

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